New Jersey parents of very young children are relying heavily on family for child care, rather than preschool or daycare centers, as concerns surrounding COVID-19 persist.

In a statewide Fairleigh Dickinson Poll of close to 800 adults with kids aged 3 and under, 70% indicated their kid is in some form of child care. A plurality of that group (45%) indicated the care is being provided by relatives. Another 10% said a non-relative is providing care, and 30% said they have their child in school or a daycare environment.

Grandparents were cited as the biggest source of in-family help. Forty-two percent of folks relying on help from relatives said the relative is receiving payment for their services.

According to the poll, single-parent households are more likely than dual-parent households to look to relatives for child care.

"Absolutely it appears that people are keeping their child out of child care because of the pandemic," said Rich Higginson, FDU Poll's director of consumer research.

Among adults who are currently deciding against putting their child in anyone else's hands, 39% indicated they are concerned about COVID-19 exposure. More than 20% of parents cited cost as an influencing factor.

"Fear of COVID" was the primary reason (53%) cited among parents who had a kid in child care pre-pandemic and feel it's presently more difficult to find "quality child care" within their budget.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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